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Soccer lovers may lose field

PUBLISHED: 12:33 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 05 July 2010

A FOOTBALL field created to keep youngsters off the streets faced an uncertain future this week.

More than 120 young footballers who have used the site at Camps Heath for training in the past five years could soon find the floodlit pitch is out of action.

A FOOTBALL field created to keep youngsters off the streets faced an uncertain future this week.

More than 120 young footballers who have used the site at Camps Heath for training in the past five years could soon find the floodlit pitch is out of action.

A retrospective application for the Hall Field land at Hall Lane, Oulton, was submitted two years ago to Waveney District Council to change use of the field to include recreation and provide floodlighting.

After hearing nothing about the application, applicants Maurice and Gillian Read claimed they received a letter telling them their application had been rejected only after telephoning the council find out what the situation was.

“We've been using this field for five years, and it wasn't until a complaint was made three years ago that we put in a retrospective application,” Mr Read said.

Mrs Read added: “I can't believe they have taken two years to deal with this when after just one phone call to them the application has been refused.”

Now, more than nine youth teams fear they could soon be left without a floodlit, grassed football field on which to train. Blundeston Magpies, Gunton Youth and sides from Pakefield may have to find alternative accommodation.

And senior teams, which had been on a waiting list to use the ground, may miss out.

Training sessions are held for different teams on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays between 6pm and 8pm. The four acres are just 200m away from the proposed new siting of the Woods Meadow development.

Traffic problems and floodlighting had been highlighted as main issues of concern, and Waveney told Mr and Mrs Read by letter this week that “the site is in a rural setting, significantly outside the built-up area of Lowestoft and is, as such, not considered to be a sustainable location for recreational facilities.”

It added that using the land as a football pitch and installing floodlights introduced a disturbance to the area. Even, so the couple have vowed to continue to fight for the youngsters and the football teams.

“I was quite willing to say to the council: 'When you have the facilities for kids to play on in Waveney I would close this site down.' But we will fight them over this now,” Mr Read said.

Mrs Read added: “It's ridiculous - where are all these youth teams going to go?”

A council spokesman said the application was refused last week since it was not appropriate for the open countryside and went against planning policy. The Reads had a right of appeal, it added.

The decision will not affect gym-khanas being held for Oulton Broad and Beccles Riding Club.

What do you think? Write to The Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, NR32 INB or email mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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